10 January 2017

A year with new challenges

Message from the President

In 2015, a reflection was begun over the intervention strategy of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation that had as its core objective ensuring that this remained a benchmark philanthropic institution and bringing about its adaptation to the new and challenging cultural, social and economic contexts.

The sheer scope and complexity of a process of this nature recommended its grounding in a model of internal and external consultation that enabled the definition of the long term strategic terms of reference for the Foundation. This furthermore renders compatibility between the stability of our actions and the preservation of our heritage with the evolution of the priorities of the societies that we serve and in which the digital universe occupies an increasingly central role and hence preparing the Institution for the advances of the 21st century.

2017 represents the year when we shall begin testing out some of the proposals that emerged from this process, with the due gradualism imposed by an institution that counts upon six decades of history without, however, ever abandoning our founding vocation for social innovation and pre-empting responses for new problems. We aim to provide greater coherence to the ultimate role of this Foundation that consists of contributing towards a fair and more solidary society that provides equal opportunities and that, in a sustainable fashion, prepares its future citizens.

In the distributive area, the choice of thematic areas, better focused and more interconnected, shall oblige certain readjustments to the Foundation in order to ensure its greater flexibility, concentrated and with a capacity to structure its activities, acting in a more coordinated fashion whilst seeking to leverage the greatest impact from its actions.

This strengthening of the Institution stems from an agenda shared with our peers, above all in Europe, and, within this framework, we shall continue to deepen our privileged partnerships with the leading European foundations in 2017. The Vision Europe project, which in November 2016 debated the refugee issue at the Foundation, constitutes one example of this strengthened cooperation that shall continue in 2017 in Turin, at the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation for debate on the impact of Globalisation on the increase in Inequality.

In May of this year, the Foundation shall also gain a new President, Isabel Mota. Having held executive functions on the Foundation Board of Directors since 1999, her exceptional human and professional qualities, her profound knowledge of the Institution, her striking capacity to motivate teams and gets things done, her recognised experience in intervening in the major problems of society, coupled with the high sense of citizenship that she has always demonstrated, establish a guarantee of the stability and the excellence in her performance of this especially challenging position.

Happy New Year!
Artur Santos Silva